Many people do not give much thought to the breed of the puppy they buy. Sometimes they are impulse decisions, sometimes they just look cute in the pet sotre window. But because a dog will be with you for between somewhere between 7-16 years, you really need to consider a number of factors.

Firstly, examine your life. How much space is there is your house or apartment? How much space is their in you schedule – do you need a dog that will sleep most of the day and not require huge amounts of exercise, or are you looking for a dog that is going to come jogging with you for an hour or so a day? Do you have a partner, or children, or cats? These things will all have an impact.

Also, don’t forget about your budget. Are you going to have money to spend on lots of health care and huge portions of food, or are you on a tight budget?

If you’re on a tight budget you’re going to have to consider a small dog – simply because they eat less. A large dog can cost upwards from $50 a week in good quality pet food!

Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you live in an apartment you can only have a small dog. Quite often this is the worst mistake of choosing a puppy. Some small breeds are very energetic, and need much more exercise than large breeds. It can turn into your worst nightmare to bring a small dog home, only to find that unless you take it to the park for two hours a day, it will cry and scratch and destroy your apartment. Then you’ll be in trouble with your neighbours. Any breed that is a terrier type breed, or even Maltese, can be prone to being destructive and bored in a small space. You may find some large breeds much more placid – Labradors and cocker spaniels are good, relaxed, even lazy breeds who will love to snooze on the couch while you work.

Be careful if you buy a purebred dog that has been bred for a task. Gun dogs, dogs used for herding sheep or cattle, or working farm dog breeds are going to be a hard puppy to handle, no matter the size of your house. Some dogs can jump fences six feet high so you’re going to struggle even to keep them locked up. They’ll need hours and hours of off-lead exercise and love to chase balls, learn tricks and work. They’re highly intelligent, and if they’re not getting the exercise and mental stimulation they need, they will be miserable. Dogs with a strong herding instinct will round up your clothes, your cutlery, your children – anything that makes a noise and this can become very frustrating!

As you can see, picking a breed AND learning the temperament of the dog are of equal importance. Size is not the only thing to consider. You should also consider the breeding history - a purebred puppy is more likely to have genetic conditions and may be more prone to illness and problems with legs and hips, that will require expensive bills, and quite often result in shorter lifespans

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